When I was in fifth grade I was in a reading study group in school that read Dragonsong. Dragonsong tells the story of Menolly, the young emotionally and artistically oppressed daughter of a Lord Holder on the faraway planet of Pern. The mythology of Pern is complex and you really need to read the books to understand the history of Pern, but there are DRAGONS. Amazing Dragons who bond with riders (they talk to each other in their heads!). There are also little dragons called Fire Lizards (these are central to the plot of Dragonsong.
Who doesn't want a pet Dragon when they are 10 years old? Oh, I did. I loved imagining I lived on Pern. I wanted to be a Dragonrider so badly I could taste it, but, her stories were more than just the dragons. McCaffrey wrote a story about a girl who stood up for herself and found her place in the world. They were inspirational to me at that age and the message still resonates with me today.
Anyway, I fell in love with the world of Pern. I read every book out there (I actually still try and read the newer ones written by her son Todd McCaffrey.) It's because of Dragonsong that I learned my love of Fantasy. I went on to read Ursula LaGuin, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and all the others I read today because of Anne McCaffrey's books.
If you haven't read Anne McCaffery, go try out Dragonsong (the first in her YA Pern trilogy) or Dragonflight. All the books eventually tie together. Her world of Pern is an amazing creation I promise you will fall in love with. You'll see where more than one writer of today got a great deal of inspiration. I just reread Dragon Flight a couple of weeks ago, but now I'm going to go back a reread the series.
Rest in Peace Ms. McCaffery